BOARD STIFF (A Dead-End Job Mystery) – By Elaine Viets (2013) Posted June 25, 2016
This fast-paced, quick and witty beach mystery made me wish I were reading this while lounging somewhere in the sand off the Ocean City boardwalk! Instead, I had to settle for breezy days on the screened in porch with cocktail in hand – but that wasn’t exactly a bad thing.
In addition to having a great solid murder plot with authentic characters, Board Stiff also has a high-drama romance story featuring Helen and Phil, the hubby-wife detective duo trying desperately to save Sunny Jim’s paddleboard rental business on Riggs Beach in Florida. Seems like someone is out to get Sunny – and get his business shutdown any way they can – including murder, arson and other acts of bodily harm. Hence, when one of Sunny’s customers accidentally drowns while paddleboarding, we all know what’s coming next – yeah, no accident – straight up murder.
With a carousel of corrupt characters so slimy they make snakehead fish seem like they’d be great in your home aquarium, you’ll keep bouncing back and forth between all the Slim Shady’s when you try to figure out the real killer. But the bonus hook of Helen and Phil’s romance going down toilet, a nefarious story in itself, makes this catchy book really hard to put down. As much as I was dying (pun intended) to find out who the killer was, I found myself having to finish it quicker just to find out if Phil and Helen were going to be Splitsville forever.